5,000 Domains Seized Based On Sealed Court Filing; Confused Domain Owners Have No Idea Why

from the that-seems-problematic dept

In the past, we'd been fairly worried about governments seizing website domains with little or no notice, but it's perhaps equally, if not more, troubling when it's done by private individuals and companies. This was one of our concerns with the original version of SOPA, which included a "private right of action." But, even though SOPA never became law (and the private right of action was dropped fairly early on), it appears that some courts are still allowing this to happen. Just a couple of months ago, we wrote about a troubling ruling in an Oregon district court that let a Filipino entertainment company seize a bunch of domains, in a process that was done under seal. In the past, we've seen other brands, like Chanel do the same thing. Louis Vuitton has also tried seizing domains.

The latest such example seems especially troubling because no one has any idea what's fully happening, but it appears to involve Chan Luu, a jewelry and clothing retailer. The Internet Commerce Association notes that approximately 5,000 domains appear to have been seized, handed over to a private "receiver" who is now trying to sell those domains -- for no clear reason. One of the victims, Michael Berkens, who lost some of his domains, has explained what little details he's been able to find out:
Overnight I received a notice that several domain names I owned were transferred by a sealed court from Verisign without notice and of course without the court order.

The domain names just were transferred by Verisign to another domain and are now listed for sale at another marketplace.

Another domainer sent me an identical notice he received overnight on domain names he owned.

The Domain names are now all owned by COURT APPOINTED RECEIVER – ROBERT OLEA and have been moved to Uniregisty as the registrar and are now listed for sale at domainnamesales.com
The only information that Berkens received was the following email:

Please be advised that Verisign has changed the registrar of record for certain domain names pursuant to a ***SEALED*** court order.

The domain names identified below were affected by this action.

Alexander the Great, LLC
—————————————————————————–
RETRACTIT.COM

If you have any questions relating to these actions, please contact:

David J. Steele
Partner, Christie, Parker & Hale LLP
Adj. Professor of Law, Loyola School
18101 Von Karman Ave, Suite 1950
Irvine, CA 92612-0163
office: +1 (949) 476-0757
direct: +1 (949) 823-3232
fax: +1 (949) 476-8640
email: david.steele@cph.com

Thank you very much,
The Verisign Transfer Dispute Team””

transfers@verisign-grs.com

Others have tracked down that it has something to do with this case, but with the details under seal, it's all a bit of a mess. Here's Phil Corwin from the Internet Commerce Association:
The only other available facts that we are presently aware of are that a copy of the “Clerk’s Certification Of A Judgment To be Registered In Another District” issued by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in the case of Chan Luu Inc. v. Online Growth, LLC et al is available at the Justia website, and the order was registered in the Florida Middle District Court. The other defendants in the case are “Grant Shellhammer et al”. There was a considerable time lag in this proceeding, with the original judgment entered in California on May 23rd, the certification dated September 8th, and the domain transfers occurring around October 2nd. The damages granted to plaintiff are $200,000 plus interest, court costs and attorney fees; we note that there is a strong possibility that the domains transferred in this case may have an aggregate market value far in excess of that total judgment, and that is likewise disturbing. The California court document covers domains that are identical or confusingly similar to Plaintiff’s CHAN LUU mark – but we’re not sure if the domain cited by Mike in his article, RETRACTIT.COM, or any of the other transferred domains fit in that category. Chan Luu is a retailer of jewelry, accessories, and ready-to-wear clothing based in Los Angeles, and so far as can be discerned makes no commercial use of the term “retractit”, so it is unclear why that domain was covered by the court order.
This is problematic on many, many levels -- and is exactly why we've been so concerned about any process that allows for domain seizures without any sense of due process. In this case, with all the details under seal and the domain owners having their websites simply ripped away from them with no explanation at all, it should raise serious questions about why courts are allowing this to occur. To take domain names away from people who aren't even parties to a lawsuit, based on a sealed document, and then to immediately put them up for resale seems sketchy beyond belief.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:09am

    To take domain names away from people who aren't even parties to a lawsuit, based on a sealed document, and then to immediately put them up for resale seems sketchy beyond belief.

    Business as always unless you hit somebody with plenty of money and influence (it won't happen unless by mistake, they target the small folk). Sketchy beyond belief is and euphemism. It's plain criminal. And it's sealed beyond appeal or due process.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:27am

    Who do you even sue?

    What option to they have? Sue the government? And no lawyer would do this for free. The cost would be huge and your chance of winning minute. This is just robbery.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:35am

      Re: Who do you even sue?

      The option they have is probably to file some emergency motion on the original case to stop the sale and get the domain temporarily back until the final judgment in the case, or something like that (I am not a lawyer and I am not a USA citizen).

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re: Who do you even sue?

        This sounds plausible, but with the entire process kept secret, how do the injured parties even know if they are filing in the right court?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:48am

          Re: Re: Re: Who do you even sue?

          Verisign would have to get involved (through an emergency injuction or something like that if they don't cooperate) to give the case number they received. If they didn't receive enough information to find the right case, the order was probably invalid and there should be some judicial mumbo-jumbo to force Verisign to give the domain back. (Again, I am not a lawyer and I am not a USA citizen).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:39am

      Re: Who do you even sue?

      Chan Luu for violation of free speech rights (ACLU?), criminal conversion, theft of property and interference with business.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:31am

    "The California court document covers domains that are identical or confusingly similar"

    OMG OMG!! I have domain names that also use the letters a through z !!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:31am

    Justice is blind because apparently it doesn't know what the shit is going on under its nose.
    Perhaps it's more appropriate to say Justice is blind, deaf and dumb.

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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:41am

    What really needs to be done is to slide in the following on these kinds of domain seizures...
    mpaa.org
    riaa.com

    and chrisdodd.com for kicks.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:45am

    The claim that this has anything to do with trademark infringement is defeated by the fact that the domains in question are being sold on the open market. After all, if your concern is that particular domains infringe upon your marks, why would you then go and sell those domains without also selling your trademarks?

    Even if the domains were, in fact, infringing, it should not be possible to sell them without first giving the former owner the right to contest the seizure in court.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:50am

      Re: why sell?

      " if your concern is that particular domains infringe upon your marks, why would you then go and sell those domains "

      My guess was that the proceeds of the sales are intended to go to the wronged party. It's all I could think of but it makes no sense. But since it's all secret..

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:28am

        Re: Re: why sell?

        Indeed, but what then next? Do they then file suit against the buyers for infringement, and in turn re-sell them again to recoup "losses"?

        This seems like an awfully disgusting downward spiral of profit.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:47am

    Secret injustice happening in secret courts. Just another day in America.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Almost Anonymous, 6 Oct 2014 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      This is what I cannot comprehend. What possible reason could there be to keep this so secret? It makes absolutely no sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 12:52pm

        Re: Re:

        It makes plenty of sense if you are trying to deliberately perpetrate some injustice. Things like this are harder to do under a bright spotlight. It must be done under cover of darkness.

        Maybe it is a way to seize the domains for some other unstated reason. Or to shut down certain websites for some reason unrelated to the argument being made in court.

        Do not assume incompetence with malice will suffice.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 8:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It makes plenty of sense if you are trying to deliberately perpetrate some injustice. Things like this are harder to do under a bright spotlight. It must be done under cover of darkness.

          Quite true - the question is, why would the court cooperate with the plaintiff's desire to do this in secret?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:48am

    "clearly a lot of people believe there should be no state interference at all on the internet, but that leads to lawlessness and anarchy"

    DCI Fyfe, City of London Police.

    See, the City of London police were right all along!! They'll be here any minute now to seize the seized domains and everything will be fine again.

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  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:51am

    $200,000.00 is a lot

    sue them for grand theft with that amount listed

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:58am

    While the lack of due process is a problem...

    ...it's worth noting that a lot of these were held by domaineers, aka typosquatters, phishers, parasites, spammers, phishers, etc. -- some of the Internet's worst scum. So yes, even they should be accorded due process/proper procedure, but it's difficult to feel sympathy for people who make their living exploiting the entire rest of the Internet for profit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:07am

      Re: While the lack of due process is a problem...

      Someone doesn't like phishers much...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:20am

      Re: While the lack of due process is a problem...

      "but it's difficult to feel sympathy for people who make their living exploiting the entire rest of the Internet"

      This isn't about sympathy for crooks. This is about justice. Your very comment indicates why this is an issue: you're assuming that all of the domains that were stolen were run by scumbags, when we have exactly no evidence that this is the case.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re: While the lack of due process is a problem...

        I'm only half-presuming that. A cursory investigation indicates that some of these domains were in the hands of domaineers (scumbags) but it doesn't show that they all were.

        I'm not supporting the lack of due process. I'm not supporting the secrecy. Both of those are horribly bad ideas principle and in practice. Everybody, even filth like domaineers, has the right to know what the hell is going on and to defend themselves in court/with counsel/etc.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 8:45am

          Re: Re: Re: While the lack of due process is a problem...

          John Fenderson: This is about justice. Your very comment indicates why this is an issue: you're assuming that all of the domains that were stolen were run by scumbags, when we have exactly no evidence that this is the case.

          It wouldn't even matter if every one of them were a card-carrying member of the National Federation of Scumbags.

          AC: Everybody, even filth like domaineers, has the right to know what the hell is going on and to defend themselves in court/with counsel/etc.

          Right on.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:35am

      Re: While the lack of due process is a problem...

      ...and of course the fact that this MUST be conducted in secret certainly supports that claim.

      Somehow, I feel if they truly were the "Internet's worst scum" then a secret court/secret order/secret squirrel would be completely unnecessary.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 4:48pm

      Re: While the lack of due process is a problem...

      First they came for the domains of the typosquatters and I said nothing because I was not a typosquatter...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 3:23pm

      Re: While the lack of due process is a problem...

      So you're saying it's okay to lock up all men just because some are rapists?

      As somebody else pointed out if they're infringing on the trademark then you won't want to sell them the domains. Maybe some of the others are scum but when you seize /50,000/ domains you have to expect there to be some mistakes and you can't harm innocents just because you've been harmed yourself. It sounds like they didn't even seize the domains to stop imminent harm, they did it to compensate someone else and they've made no effort to ensure they didn't cause harm to others.

      So maybe it's not a 'lock up everyone because some are rapists', it's 'seize everyone's bank account since some of the money was stolen from Joe'.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 3:28pm

        Re: Re: While the lack of due process is a problem...

        Sorry, 5,000, not 50,000.

        Still a ridiculously large number to see with the expectation of no errors, esp. when the affected parties can't challenge the claim. You don't get 5,000 hits easily - they're probably making assumptions like matching names on domain contact info and not ensuring that "John Smith" is the same John Smith in question.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:59am

    It's possible that the domain troll is just pre-marketing the seized properties to see what anyone will bid on them, while still waiting for clearance from the court to sell them (which might never come). It's a shady way of operating, but just about every company does this sort of thing to some degree. (it's annoying as hell to learn that you wasted your time pursuing a "phantom carrot" or whatever these scams are called.)

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:01am

    So Due Process is just lip service now?

    They took property from people via the courts without ever serving any documents on the targets.
    They order is sealed of someone using the publicly funded court system, probably because of some statements of questionable "merit" that they would just transfer them away. Oh I read the order, they got an unopposed default... quaint.

    Huh I wonder if this is 5000 domains that happened to share the same host or something that a freaking moron would assume connected them to the actual target.

    Loyola might want to look into who they hire and if they are qualified in this technical age.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      Oh I read the order, they got an unopposed default... quaint.

      So the order was against Verisign, not the domain owners, and they didn't bother showing up because they don't care about their customers? Nice.

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      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 Oct 2014 @ 6:56am

        Re: Re:

        No the order that this sprang from was against some dude and a couple llcs that were picking on some other firm.
        All of the other domains just seem to be collateral damage that weren't all connected to the bad man.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:18am

    I will own Techdirt.com soon.

    You mean in California I can take ownership of Techdirt.com!! This is amazing, you may all start bowing since the constitution doesn't apply to the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:21am

    Wait a minute

    If the problem is Trademark confusion (counterfeit goods) or defamation (saying untrue things) or some other badness involved with SPECIFIC domains...........

    Why would they seize them, then turn around and SELL them?

    What would prevent the future owners from doing the same thing with said domains?

    This sounds more like a court approved robbery, not some action designed to right a wrong.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:25am

    this what happens when the law enforcement services are allowed to be controlled by industry, and a self-serving, entertainment industry at that, that refuses to join everyone else in the digital world and throws out 'campaign contributions for this very reason, then employs at an exorbitant salary a person who has left politics and been employed by the industries, not for his entertainment related skills, but for his continuing access to government!
    however to seize a domain without holding a court session, without informing the site runners and giving no reason(s) is nothing less than we deserve because of the short-sighted way we are being manipulated into a corner, where the internet is going to be run by the industries stated above and full of spyware, not for criminals to pull off dirty deeds against us, but for governments to do so!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:35am

    This all seems very BASIC to me ...
    10. Lump 5,000 unrelated domains together & sue
    20. Win by default by never informing defendants
    30. Seal court proceedings from defendants
    40. Sell 5,000 unrelated domains
    50. Profit
    60. GOTO 10
    Compiles OK in a court of law. Package and ship it!

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  • identicon
    scott, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:45am

    Nothing to do with domain names?

    Just guessing here but based on what was in the article posted here this really has nothing to do with domain names per-se. Instead it has to do with a lawsuit being won, damages being assessed and the winner being able to collect assets from the losing party. Just as if you lose any lawsuit, a court can order property you own be turned over to the winner. Domain names are just property. The real clue is in the fact that a jewelry company with no connection to some of the domain names in question has them for sale. Now, if domain names not owned by the losing party are involved, that is a different issue (i.e., mi-identification of the owner of the property). Again, a separate issue not related directly to domain names. Think someone repossessing the wrong car. It's not about the car but the incorrect identification.

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    • identicon
      Quiet Lurcker, 6 Oct 2014 @ 12:13pm

      Re: Nothing to do with domain names?

      There's just one small problem with this notion. The mechanics of this case are more or less identical in some ways with the mechanics of the megaupload case, where innocent people lost their files when those servers went down. How the government handled that was totally illegal, and is surviving only because the courts aren't biting the hand that feeds.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 8:49am

      Re: Nothing to do with domain names?

      Just guessing here but based on what was in the article posted here this really has nothing to do with domain names per-se. Instead it has to do with a lawsuit being won, damages being assessed and the winner being able to collect assets from the losing party.

      Even if correct, these people didn't even receive notice of the existence of a lawsuit before the domains were seized. That's not justice, or due process.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:47am

    They can't do that.

    5th Amendment, they can't take property without due compensation. The very fact that they've immediately turned and listed the domains for resale proves there is value that needs to be compensated.

    You bet you need to run, not walk to the nearest relevant court. Yes, this involves litigation. But justice is freedom and FREEDOM ISN'T FREE. Think of it as being drafted, but instead of your life, freedom is only asking for your money. A bunch of folks interned in Normandy, Bunker Hill and Gettysburg would love to trade places with you.

    Courts don't go around looking for injustice. They CAN'T do anything until some hero brings a case to them. When that happens, they move swiftly and with astonishing force to bring an end to injustices like Righthaven, Prenda and whatnot. The exact same thing WILL happen here, all we need is a hero to run the legal process through. Like I say, freedom isn't free, but in those cases, the courts awarded legal fees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 12:43pm

      Re: They can't do that.

      They CAN'T do anything until some hero brings a case to them. When that happens, they move swiftly


      Excuse me for a minute while I laugh at that statement. Swiftly? It takes years.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 8:50am

      Re: They can't do that.

      Courts don't go around looking for injustice. They CAN'T do anything until some hero brings a case to them. When that happens, they move swiftly and with astonishing force to bring an end to injustices like Righthaven, Prenda and whatnot.

      In this case, the injustice was perpetrated (or at best abetted) by the court.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Zonker, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:59pm

      Re: They can't do that.

      I would love to see Chan Luu, Uniregistry, and Robert Olea suddenly find themselves defending 5,000 small claims court cases against them simultaneously as a result of this secret large scale theft of property.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2014 @ 2:57am

      Re: They can't do that.

      They CAN'T do anything until some hero brings a case to them. When that happens, they move swiftly and with astonishing force to bring an end to injustices like Righthaven, Prenda and whatnot.

      Bullshit. https://ia601402.us.archive.org/34/items/gov.uscourts.wieb.358648/

      There is a gent demanding back property that is not his like the car or "the spices" - with "the spices" having a court order of this:
      The defendants shall return forthwith to Sandwich Kings all spices, spice containers and spice dispensers removed from the premises on or after September 6, 2013 (Milwaukee 2013cv2944)

      If you look at the past bankruptcy of this gent in PACER you'll see he tried to claim the property in dispute in Milwaukee 2013CV2944 as his - including the location the State Court already awarded to the other party.

      Take a guess what has been done so far VS him WRT those items? Go ahead.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 11:55am

    This is incompatible with the fourteenth amendment ("nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"). A case like this, where the property is taken and then immediately put up for sale, before the owner is even notified that there IS a case pending, is about the most clear-cut case of no due process you can imagine.

    This is like towing someone's car out of a parking lot because the previous owner is having his assets seized. The car (or domain) was paid for. The guy you're going after now has more cash - go after that. If he somehow hid the money from the sale, that's on him, not on the guy who bought it in good faith.

    The only justification I can think of for taking the domain from a third party is if the domain was stolen property (if A steals from B and sells to C, C must give the property back to B), and even then, there's no good reason to do it THIS way (no notice and under seal). Additionally, having your domain seized, assuming it's actually being used and not just parked, constitutes irreparable harm. Especially since it's without notice and you can't just tell your visitors that you need to find a new address. You've likely lost most of them forever, even if the court later found it was in error and gave it back.

    My first thought on why it was done this way was that the judge was concerned that if notice was given, some of the domains might have been transferred, perhaps to an out-of-country registrar, thereby defeating the court order. But after stopping to think for two seconds, VeriSign is responsible for operating the entire .com domain. And in fact, they transferred the domain from one registrar to another to comply with the court order. So that sort of thing seems impossible.

    In any case, we need to break this trend of judges giving sealed orders. It's repugnant. We can't even intelligently comment on this because we don't know what's going on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Court approved robbery

    This is pretty much no different than if a moving company showed up at your house while you were out, started packing up all your belongings, and then when you got home you were told only that:

    A) You'd lost a case you had never heard of or were aware you were involved in.
    B) You were blocked from even knowing any of the details of the case because it was sealed for some reason.
    C) Your stuff would be sold to help pay off the fines you were found to owe.

    And if you wanted to contest the robbery, you'd have to take it up with the judge, somehow, but better hurry, because your former property was going on the selling block as of now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 1:29pm

      Re: Court approved robbery

      And if you wanted to contest the robbery, you'd have to take it up with the judge, somehow, but better hurry, because your former property was going on the selling block as of now.

      I suspect that, now with only 233 domains showing up as owned by the domain seller, the property is gone now and this will only be solved by suing the parties involved (and you won't likely get your property back.) I haven't found any of the other 5000 domains, so I can't verify they've already been sold or not, but I suspect they may have been sold to other scammers.

      Luckily my one .com wasn't part of this land-grab. But I had to make sure, since nobody has actually published a list of the 5000 domains grabbed. It would be interesting to see a list, but so far looking at the 233 up for sale on the domain sellers site, there is an awful lot of what looks like vanity and unrelated domains on there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 1:49pm

      Re: Court approved robbery

      maybe you've missed some stories where -in various combinations- home OWNERS (in AT LEAST one case, the house was OUTRIGHT OWNED, no mortgage, no debts, no liens) who are kicked out of their houses, and the house either sold or taken over by the banksters, whatever, AND THEY HAVE NO FUCKING RECOURSE...
      EVERYONE agrees the seizure was wrong and had no basis, BUT THE PEOPLE can't get any relief, much less be made whole...

      it is just so much naked 'might makes right'...
      these people were 100% 'in the legal right', but it doesn't matter because the (in)justice system is slanted to the haves...

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 12:32pm

    Online Growth, LLC

    Is the court cracking down on penis enlargement?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 12:48pm

    one domain speculator scumbag. . .

    stealing from another. The process under which the handover happened still stinks but for this specific case the "victim" appears to be just as sleazy as whomever took the domains from him. If ICANN wasn't so corrupt neither of these entities would own any of these domains.

    IMHO of course.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 1:20pm

      Re: one domain speculator scumbag. . .

      Irrelevant.

      Even if every single one of the domains seized belonged to scum(unlikely), the fact that they only found out about it after the case was over, and their domains had been taken from them and put up for sale is a gross violation of their right to be able to face, and defend themselves in court, before having a judgement made against them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 3:56pm

        Re: Re: one domain speculator scumbag. . .

        "they only found out about it after the case was over"

        Citation?

        There's no details in the above article, just a bunch of "due process" FUD.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 5:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: one domain speculator scumbag. . .

          From the article you clearly didn't read:

          'Overnight I received a notice that several domain names I owned were transferred by a sealed court from Verisign without notice and of course without the court order.

          The domain names just were transferred by Verisign to another domain and are now listed for sale at another marketplace.

          Another domainer sent me an identical notice he received overnight on domain names he owned.

          The Domain names are now all owned by COURT APPOINTED RECEIVER – ROBERT OLEA and have been moved to Uniregisty as the registrar and are now listed for sale at domainnamesales.com'

          ...

          'The only information that Berkens received was the following email:

          Please be advised that Verisign has changed the registrar of record for certain domain names pursuant to a ***SEALED*** court order.

          The domain names identified below were affected by this action.

          Alexander the Great, LLC'


          Also, 'Due process' FUD? Please, objecting to having a ruling made in court in a case you had no clue was going on, and only finding out about it when your site was seized is 'FUD' now? That's not even close to 'FUD', that's a very real, very legitimate concern and objection.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 7:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: one domain speculator scumbag. . .

            "when your site was seized"

            Say again? I'm sorry, what *website* was *seized*? Hmm?

            These guys were domain name squatters. Did Masnick happen to post the details of the arrangement these guys had to squat on those names? No? He just spouted his due process FUD? Oh ok. Snore.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: one domain speculator scumbag. . .

              'Domain', 'site', now you're just splitting hairs trying to defend your claim. They had their property taken by order of a court, and only found out about it after the fact. Even then, almost all of the details are sealed by court order, making contesting the validity of the seizure difficult at best, and given the seized domains were almost immediately put up for sale, the time they had to do so was non-existent.

              Also, for someone claiming that Mike isn't posting any details(since apparently clicking on the links in the article is too difficult for you), it's funny how you automatically assume they were all domain squatters, as though that magically removes their right to defend themselves in court before action is taken against them.

              Nope, much easier to assume they were all scum, not deserving of equal rights under the law, and then pile on the insults. /s

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          icon
          antidirt (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 5:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: one domain speculator scumbag. . .

          There's no details in the above article, just a bunch of "due process" FUD.

          Yep. Claim that you invented email, and he'll go to the ends of the earth to prove you wrong. Claim that 5,000 domain names were seized without due process, and that's repeated as gospel truth with neither knowledge of the facts nor the law. Journalism! Go Mike!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 2:23pm

    I am just wondering here,,,

    How long would it take before all non-random named domains were sized if all companies did this kind of thing? 5000 seems like insanely many for one company to own.
    It seems to me like this was some sort of payment instead of money, but holy cow these guys are bastards, just shutting the sites down without any regard for the people who's living might be dependent upon that site.
    This does not include scammers and such... screw those guys.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 2:29pm

    For the second decade, "it's too complicated" is the reason none of this is reported in the press.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 6 Oct 2014 @ 2:58pm

    But to sell the domains?

    If the domains were damaging to another business how does it make sense to then sell the domain only for it to be back out on the market "confusing" innocent consumers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 3:04pm

      Re: But to sell the domains?

      No you misunderstand, the domains themselves weren't damaging to the business, they were the "damages" in the court settlement...

      Here take these 5000 domains that belong to other people who may be conducting business with them, and sell them as part of your settlement...

      It all makes perfect sense if you squint really hard and try to think like you work for a TLA...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 3:35pm

    Bingo!

    " try to think like you work for a TLA..."

    Question is were some of these domains honeypots or somehow not entirely 'consumer-grade'. Why else the secrecy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 6:57pm

    This sort of thing happens a lot more often than you realize. I see notifications from VeriSign about a court-ordered change of registrar much more often than I would expect. Some are sealed and some aren't, but almost all of them come from the same few law firms. Christie, Parker & Hale LLP is a new one to me though.

    The relief described in that 2011 Chanel article linked in OP is actually pretty common and still happens today. The law firms write up their proposed relief and the judge just signs off on it.

    Why don't you hear about it more? One possible reason is that the lawyers get an ex parte order approved that permits service of documents via email to the address listed as the WHOIS contact... so if your WHOIS mailbox gets a lot of spam (or you're using a privacy service), it's very easy to miss the notice and if you don't respond, say hello to default judgment.

    I'm curious now, so I'll be keeping an eye on the inbox where I work to see if any of the domains registered through my company get nabbed and if Verisign gives us any more info.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2014 @ 8:20pm

    They started with seizing property now they move to seizing abstract internet domains.

    Why exactly do people put up with a blatantly criminal government that rules like they are royalty and their citizens are slaves

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 2:19pm

      Why we tolerate feudal dictatorship

      Why exactly do people put up with a blatantly criminal government that rules like they are royalty and their citizens are slaves?

      Easy. The seizures and the murders are easy to ignore. Many day-to-day workers don't have time to look up from their desks or service stations to parent their own kids, let alone watch their liberties crumble.

      We only tend to notice our rights are gone after we need them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Paraquat (profile), 6 Oct 2014 @ 10:40pm

    Third World Country

    You'd expect this kind of thing in a corrupt third world country. Maybe Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan. But this is the USA. You know, self-appointed "leader of the free world." A "land of milk and honey." A "paradise on Earth" (oh, wait, I think North Korea has that title trademarked).

    It's official - the USA has finally crossed the line to become a third world country. A banana republic, without the bananas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 6:01am

      Re: Third World Country

      "Third world" means* "not affiliated with Nato/the USA/etc. Nor the warsaw pact/USSR, sooo... that might be a bit tricky :p

      And i'd not expect that sort of thing from those places, they're generally not functional enough for it to come up. It's Exactly the sort of thing i'd expect from the USA though. Or China. Maybe Russia. I'd expect most of the EU would manage to actually notify people Before taking their stuff (all done by the book), but otherwise it sounds believeable for there, too. Not too unlikely for japan, either. Each has their own spin on it, of course.

      *That is, origionally meant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Marc John Randazza (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 6:19am

    Details... details....

    It might help if we knew what some of the domains were. (Might not, but might)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AMusingFool (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:35am

    Sounds like a case...

    of Eminent Domain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2014 @ 5:14am

    John Steele?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RON ELSBERG, 28 Feb 2017 @ 10:34am

    THEFT OF PROPERY BY FRAUD/ABUSE OF POWER

    BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, THEFT AND FRAUD JUDICIAL ABUSE IN VIOLATING OTHER ASSETS IS COMMON CIVIL AND CRIMINAL RACKETEERING UNDER BOTH, 18 USC, 1961, 1964. THERE EXIST A LAUNDRY LIST OF CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LAW.

    CLEARLY, THESE CASES ARE CLASS ACTION, AND MORE. A FEDERAL CASE IN L.A. WITH THE APPEAL IN THE 9TH CIRCUIT MAY BE THE BEST LOGIC.

    AND A TEMPORAY INJUCTION, AND NAME THE FEDERAL JUDGE THAT ORDERED THE CASE SEALED FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, AND ASK TO DEPOSE HIM UNDER DISCOVERY, THEN ASK THE THE SEAL BE REMOVED, DUE TO THE CONFRONTATION CLAUSE, DUE PROCESS, FED RULES OF CIV/CRIM PROC. WHY WOULD THIS CASE BE ANY DIFFERENT, JUST BECAUSE ITS INTERNET. ALL LAWS AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS APPLIES, BECAUSE THE US DIST CT IS GOVERNMENT, THUS INVOLKS FULL CONST. RIGHTS. MY OP. RON ELSBERG, PROF OF LAW

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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